The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

South students advised on networking

By Jennifer Covington/reporter

Students on South Campus thinking about starting a business were advised last week to try volunteering.

Toni Allison, business development coordinator for the Fort Worth Business Assistance Center, spoke to a room full of potential entrepreneurs in the Entrepreneur EXPO 2009 Seminar Feb. 3.

Allison held the seminar to recruit volunteers for the April 22 EXPO and to explain the long-term benefits of volunteering.

“It gives you a chance to get your name out there and network,” she said.

The annual EXPO event serves locally owned businesses of Fort Worth by providing access to seminars, business consultants, counseling appointments and other small business assistance made available by the more than 300 vendors that will attend.

The highlights of the Expo include a luncheon to celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit and an awards ceremony for outstanding locally owned businesses.

In addition to shopping the services available to entrepreneurs and small businesses, attendees will have an opportunity for networking, Allison said. For volunteers, the ability to interact with these vendors in a meaningful way could provide valuable contacts for small business success, Allison said.

EXPO volunteers assist in setting up the exhibit hall, helping speakers during the seminars, running errands for the vendors and greeting attendees at the door, all while networking.

“The most important thing is to pay attention,” she said when demonstrating how to network effectively. Allison said networking builds trust and those relationships could lead to success in a business endeavor.

Allison is no stranger to navigating the world of owning a business. Over the course of 25 years, she owned several businesses including a bar and a health store.

Part of her job at FWBAC is serving as coordinator for Project New, a 10-week program to assist small business hopefuls in developing solid business plans.

“I did things the wrong way or the long way, and I want to help others not do what I did,” she said.

In addition to Project New, FWBAC provides an array of services to small business owners from assistance with market research to help finding access to capital. The FWBAC calls itself the “one-stop shop for small business.”

The FWBAC needs at least 150 volunteers for this year’s EXPO. Anyone can volunteer, and participants are expected to work a four-hour shift. To volunteer, contact the FWBAC by phone at 817-871-6025 or by e-mail at volunteers@theexpo.org.

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